After a remarkable run of 23 picks, the Nashville Predators selected center Philip Tomasino of the Niagara IceDogs. The 6’0” forward will turn 18 at the end of July and slide up the Niagara lineup next season in his third OHL year.
Tomasino scored 34 goals and 72 points in 67 games for Niagara with middle-six minutes, including 12 game-winning goals—the most in the Ontario Hockey League. He’s a natural center but can play the wing, too. Tomasino also played for Team Canada at the 2019 U18 World Junior Championships, scoring one goal and five points in six games.
I profiled Tomasino extensively for SB Nation’s NHL Mock Draft (found here) and pegged him as the most likely pick for Nashville at pick 24. He was ranked #14 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting; I had him as the 18th best skater on my board. Here’s what I noted on Tomasino in my 2019 NHL Entry Draft Rankings:
“[Tomasino] could be one of the biggest sleepers in this draft. Quick skating, excellent hands, a good shot, and a sound two-way game. Tomasino plays fast at all times. He isn’t a big player by most definitions, but he finishes plays, unlike most. He will need some maturation, but this potential pick for Nashville could be an excellent complement down the middle.”
Tomasino played a combination of center and wing in an incredibly deep Niagara lineup this season. He had the biggest year-to-year jump in goals among OHL skaters, going from five in 2017-18 to 34 in 2018-19. But 30 of those goals came at even strength, and he finished with the third highest “Betweenness” rating of all OHL forwards—a measure of how well he produces offense for himself and teammates.
In games that both played in, Tomasino has 14 goals, 12 prim. assists, 4 sec. assists (30 points) in 30 GP.— Evan Oppenheimer (@OppenheimerEvan) March 6, 2019
In games that Robertson didn't play in, Tomasino has 17 goals 11 prim. assists, 6 sec. assists (34 points) in 31 GP.
Verdict: It's possible, but Tomasino seems legit. pic.twitter.com/jbwWNeBBN3
Tomasino will be playing top-line minutes next season for Niagara and should line up exclusively down the middle. He’s an excellent talent with a high-end skill set and beautiful pace to his game.
I will have a full breakdown of this and Nashville’s remaining selections early next week.
All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.